March 2006

I’d like to talk a little about goal setting.  Does everyone do it, probably not.  Should everyone do it, probably not.  Why is it important you might ask?  The answer is in how you perceive your success.  Without having some expectations prior to starting competitive cooking, or competitive anything for that matter, how can you ever measure a degree of success and judge how satisfied you are with your performance?  The interesting part about goal setting is not only does it give you a gauge to measure success, but it also sets you up for failure.  Yes, set a goal, you don’t achieve it, you failed.  It’s how you rebound from this failure that becomes the measure of how effective you are at chasing your long term goal. 


Honestly, I struggled with this when I got started in competition bbq a couple years ago.  Hey, I just wanted to go out there and have fun.  Cook some food and get measured up against others who share in this passion.  But something clicked.  Something sparked me to find a means to get beyond the satisfaction of merely completing a competition.  For some, that is a totally legitimate and reasonable goal, it’s where most of us started.  But like every other goal in life, BBQ goals are allowed to evolve. 


I’d venture to guess that everyone who cooks more than one contest wants to someday cook in the Jack Daniels Invitational.    That’s a goal.  But it can’t be achieved until you win Grand Champion at a qualifying event.  That’s another goal.  In all likelihood you’re not going to win that until you win a category, or start doing very well in at least 3 of the 4 categories.  Still yet another goal.  See how easy this is? 


Starting on competition week Mondays, I begin to tell my teammates and family that this is the beginning of our Grand Championship contest…usually somewhat tongue in cheek.  I get a lot of “ohhhh Daddy, sure it is” as her cute eyes roll around into her head and she sighs in disbelief.   Sometimes I think the only person who’s on board my GC bandwagon is my partner, but we all have fun with the banter throughout the week.  And the goals constantly change throughout the contest so usually by 1:35p on Saturday, my only remaining goal is to have a respectable showing and to not embarrass myself.  And the goal modification doesn’t end there.  The grand champion moniker still eludes, so I have to find some other success…top 5, which often eludes…top 10, there some goals met, sometimes.


Some may contend that when a hobby becomes something that has to have goals and metrics associated with it, its time to find a new hobby.  I can appreciate the apprehension of associating the level of enjoyment out of a pastime against some arbitrary metrics.  But I also believe that even the goal setting aspect is an escape from the everyday rituals and that any BBQ related escape helps me enjoy this hobby that much more.

Wednesday 22, March 2006

Ed Roith – Vice President of the Kansas City Barbecue Society

podcast icon  Ed Roith is the Vice President of the Kansas City Barbecue Society, television star and very active in training judges for KCBS competitions.

30:33 minutes 7.1 megs 12 seconds to download by cable broadband 

Tuesday 14, March 2006 

Steven Raichlen

Steven Raichlen is a multi-award winning author, journalist, cooking teacher and TV host. He has his best-selling Barbecue Bible cookbook series (more than 2 million copies in print) and his Barbecue University TV show on PBS.

15:57 minutes3.5 megs 6 seconds to download by cable broadband

I want to take a moment to redirect things a little.  Take a little time to remember the things that are important and how BBQ fits into that mix.  I’ve got no cooking advice or judging explanations to go through, just some thoughts about friends…and family and how something like BBQ nurtures those things closest to us. 


My family has recently been dealt a couple of blows, my wife losing her grandma and less than a week later I lost my uncle.  These two people leave an unbelievable legacy.  Grandma departed smiling down at 90 descendants, and that doesn’t include all the in-laws, such as me, who were touched by her.  My uncle was a basketball and baseball coach in Minnesota and he managed to touch so many lives not only though his distinguished coaching and teaching career, but also as a community and church servant.  But I simply knew him as Uncle George. 


Where’s the BBQ connection?  That’s the interesting thing, there really is not one.  Neither of these two huge families had a history of having a “barbeque:” a roasting of a pig, or sharing some other savory meat we BBQers adore.  There was the occasional burger and hot dog event, which by some definitions might be “a barbeque”.  Even without BBQ, as is the case in many family gatherings, food always has and probably always will play a key role in the get-togethers.  From polish sausage and potica (pah-titz-a) on the Iron Range in Northern Minnesota to fried chicken or chicken and noodles in central Illinois, food was there to bond these families.  After each of these funerals, what was the healing medicine administered… a luncheon… food. 


So the next time you’re toiling on a Saturday morning over proper arrangement of chicken thighs or parsley, pause just a moment (which honestly, at a competition is all you have), and remember that the real essence of BBQ is not in the perfect rib, or 180 brisket, or in the Grand Champion trophy.  No, the real essence of BBQ is sharing:  sharing food, sharing drink, and sharing conversation and camaraderie with your friends…and family.  That is the award each and every one of us takes away from this pastime…the ability to share our craft, our talents, our passion, with all those close to us.        


As I sat waiting to go to the funeral of my uncle, my wife spoke to me about plans for the weekend.  “Maybe you should cook up some pork?  It’d be nice to share with…”  I replied, “Yes, yes we should, I’d like that.”  Somehow the thought of helping a friend through some troubling times comforted me tremendously.  And the thought of being able to do it while playing in the smoke was the therapy I craved. 


In loving memory of:

Grandma Florence Styck


Uncle George Marsnik  


Joey Mac  

Many regular forum visitors have probably seen Steve’s handle YankeeBBQ somewhere along the way, and if you’ve read Steve Farrin’s posts, you’ve probably noticed that he’s one of the more quick-witted characters around. You’ve also probably seen him always willing to help out with advice, information and support wherever possible. A nomadic cooker, Steve’s cooked all over the place with both of his teams, I Smell Smoke and Team Agave, often showing up with no pit and few ingredients, and still manages to succeed. He is extremely active as a board member of the New England Barbecue Society, updating their website and helping to promote the sport of bbq in the northeast. Below is a brief overview of the teams.

I Smell Smoke: Steve Farrin, Doug Pini, Dale Farrin, Charlie Pini, Pat Brogden, Carmen Pini,  Carlotta Pini
2005 Results: Mass State Champion; Connecticut State Champion; Grand Champ of Snow Shoe Grilling Challenge; Reserve Grand at Cape Cod BBQ Challenge; Reserve Grand at Highland NY ribfest; First Place ribs at Jack Daniels; 9th chicken and 11th Brisket at American Royal Invitational; 1st Pork overall NEBS

Team Agave (Past and Present Members): Steve Farrin, Dave Peterson, Nancy Peterson, Dave Frary, Mike Grudzinskas, Dale Farrin, Kirsten Grudzinskas, Garry Howard, Rich Decker
Team Agave Highlights : 2004 Maryland State Champion; Grand Champ BBQ on the River Bristol PA; Grand Champ New Holland PA Summerfest; 1st Place Pork Guitarbeque;  1st Place Pork Maine State Championship; 7th Pork Overall KCBS

 Steve on Elephant

 Name? Steve Farrin

Where From and/or where do you currently live? 35 year resident of Malden Massachusetts, just about 5 miles outside of Boston.

Married, kids, etc…? Single

Profession (even if not bbq 24/7– if you cater, vend, etc please mention)? Maintenance Mechanic.  I specialize in Digital Building Control systems and electronic repair of Scientific research equipment.  I help a friend with some catering a couple of times a year and we also Vend at a couple of BBQ comps.

# of pits and what are they? Hmmm let’s see.  Backwoods Competitor, FE100, WSM,  ECB , Brinkman offset, a couple of kettles (the red one is not for sale), Weber gas grill and a big trailer mounted grill.  It looks like 9 is the number.  No wait,  I have a small gas grill sitting under my desk at work and little smokey joe in the garage.  11

Have you ever made your own pit, if so, how many and what styles? I’ve never made my own but my bbq teammate Charlie has made a couple that we’ve cooked on over the years.  One from a 250 gallon oil drum that I helped install a gasket on and a slightly modified brinkman offset.  We had a fire box mounted underneath the brinkman instead of on the side.

Earliest memory of bbqing– is/was your family involved? Not exactly bbq but cooking with wood.  My family had a big Labor Day party every year and we’d do a big Lobster bake over an open fire.  In the early days I was just a spectator with the rest of the young brats and then as the years moved along we were allowed to participate until finally we were running the show.  And man what show !

Favorite thing about bbqing? For me, bbq is about the competition and the camaraderie.  It’s really fun competing when your enemies are your friends.

How you found the forum and when (if you can remember)? My team qualified for the 1998 American Royal and we had a million questions on what to expect.  I found the Forum doing a Lycos search for Kansas City BBQ.  Does anyone remember when Lycos was the big search engine ?

What was your first pit? A Brinkman bullet smoker aka ECB (el cheapo brinkman)

First thing you remember cooking (doesn’t have to be bbq)? Can’t really recall.  I’ve been cooking for as long as I can remember.  I do remember helping my Mom prepare her Spaghetti Sauce (we call it sauce in my family, none of that Gravy stuff) when I was very young.

Favorite bbq woods, charcoal, rub, sauce, etc?

Wood- Pecan
Charcoal- Wicked Good (my sponsor), Pellets- BBQ’rs Delight Pecan Pellets (my sponsor),
Rub: I make some of my own but I like Smokin Guns, Head Country and Slabs and I buy them at For Sauce: Blues Hog, Head Country and Texas Rib Rangers

Favorite/best competition memory (where, when, who with, team name, etc….)? I have many great memories of bbq comps but there are few I would like to mention. 
 My Team I Smell Smoke qualified for our first Royal in 1998 by winning the Pig n Pepper festival in Massachusetts.  Before the comp we were watching kids take rides on this big Elephant.  I’m not sure which one of us brought it up but we all agreed if we won the competition we would ride that Elephant.  We had a blast.

The second I’d like to mention is that first Royal we went to.  We placed third in Chicken and I still can’t forget the feeling I had walking up to receive our Ribbon.  I know what people mean when they say it feels like being on cloud 9.  I swear I floated to the stage that day.

And finally I want to talk about a competition that I competed in last year with my Father.  It was in New Holland Pennsylvania.  We won the contest but that’s not what makes it special.  Just being able to spend quality time with my Dad was a blast.  He really had a great time and it’s nice to know that you can make your parents proud.  We plan on being there again this year.

Do you eat bbq in restaurants– if so, where, when  why? Once in awhile I do.  The New England BBQ society has what we call Road Trips where a bunch of us get together and go out to a local bbq joint.  It’s a great time for cooks, judges and non competing members of the Society to socialize.  And sometimes the food is real good.

Favorite record albums, books, TV shows, movie, etc…whatever you want to include.
Dave Mathews Band, John Prine, Dances With Wolves, South Park, Reality TV

Favorite non-BBQ Food to eat and/or cook (or thing you eat most often when not eating bbq)? I’m a steakaholic.  Give me a ribeye and I’m a happy camper.

Favorite beer, favorite beer to drink w/ food? I’m not a big beer drinker.  Tequila on the other hand…

Favorite BBQForum Thread (can include “what’s an abt?” if you want)? I like all the rules and judging threads.  They can get heated and sometimes drag on too long but it shows how much passion people have for competition bbq.

Least Favorite BBQForum Thread (ditto)? I’ll bite my tongue on this one and plead the 5th

Do you have a web site and when did you start and why?  I haven’t updated it in quite awhile but It’s on my list of things to do.  I also help to maintain the New England BBQ society web site at

A good friend of mine gave me his bean recipe. He also gave me a sample. GOOD STUFF! Give them a try. 
Chuck Wagon Beans
1 (30 oz.) can Van Camps pork & beans
4 T. brown sugar, packed
1 sm. onion, chopped
3 slices bacon, cooked crisp & crumbled
Bacon drippings
1/8 – 1/4 c. catsup
1 T. prepared mustard
If preferred, add some garlic
Mix in Pyrex or earthen ware bowl. Smoke, uncovered, 3 1/2 to 4 hours. I use hickory chunks and keep the water pan 3/4 full.
Care to share?

You might be familiar with Mike Davis and the Lotta Bull BBQ team from seeing them on television on the All-Star BBQ Showdown on which they made it to the finals taped last summer in New York City and shown on the Outdoor Life Network.

Or maybe you’ve competed against them on the circuit where they’ve become a team to beat and racked up some impressive wins, including winning the American Royal Open in 2002. In 2005 they came back to the Royal to take both Reserve Grand in the Invitational AND Grand Champion of the Open. This capped off a red-hot 2005, in which Lotta Bull was also Reserve Grand Champions at the 1st Annual Great American BBQ Contest.

With credentials like that, it’s no wonder they are marketing a sauce and rub line, which sound like winners, too, and can be found at their website. So, without further ado….Lotta Bull BBQ

Mike & Debbie Davis, We are the team – LOTTA BULL BBQ

Where From and/or where do you currently live?
Currently reside in Marietta, Oklahoma (6 miles past the jumping off point)

Married, kids, etc…?
Married to Debbie for 29 years now, we have 1beautiful daughter Mikee (pronounced Mickey) married to Breck Miller, they have given us 2 wonderful grandsons, Jackson now3 and Cade born this year. Our 2 girls at home and our traveling companions are Aggie & Gabby our miniature Schnauzers.

Profession (even if not bbq 24/7– if you cater, vend,etc please mention)?
For my day job, I am a Regional Maintenance Manager for Transport Industries, the largest grocery hauler in these great United States, with responsibilities in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Arizona and Oregon. On occasion we cater for certain groups.

# of pits and what are they?
2 actual bbq pits, one is my Geer pit that I compete on and the other is made by Kingfisher Kookers.

Have you ever made your own pit, if so, how many and what styles?
My brother in law and I built my first pit that I used for years and then sold it to a cooker in Houston, Tx and he still uses it today. I often think of buying it back just to remind where it all started.

Earliest memory of bbqing– is/was your family involved?
Earliest memory? Thinking I could make better stuff than I was buying at the bbq joints, and I did.

How you found the forum and when (if you can remember)?
I was one of the first ones on the forum, how I got there, I have no clue now.

What was your first pit?
1st pit was homemade.

First thing you remember cooking (doesn’t have to be bbq)?
I have cooked all my life, my first bbq’ing was ribs and brisket, no joke, the first try was edible.

Favorite bbq woods, charcoal, rub, sauce, etc?
woods –pecan
charcoal – lump
rub – dry
sauce – nice try!!

Favorite/best competition memory (where, when, who with, team name, etc….)?
Easy. Minuteman Cook-off in North Little Rock, Arkansas – 1st KCBS Grand Championship.

Do you eat bbq in restaurants– if so, where, when why?
Debbie can’t believe I do this, but, I got to try them out from time to time, just to see what is out there. I can’t believe what some folks call good.

Favorite record albums, books, TV shows, movie, etc…whatever you want to include.
Book – Bible
Movies – Tom Horn, Aloha Bobby and Rose (from the 70’s)
Music – Old time Gospel, Country (old and new), Classic Rock (Aerosmith, Grand Funk, Skynyrd……)

Favorite non-BBQ Food to eat and/or cook (or thing you eat most often when not eating bbq)?

Favorite beer, favorite beer to drink w/ food?
Not much of a beer drinker

Do you have a web site and when did you start and why?
We do have a new website and we are still working on a few things but it is up and running, but if you go there, please be patient with us, we are still learning.

BBQ Forum Blog copyright 2005 and The BBQ Forum
Web page design and hosting by Ray Basso and Theme Downloaded from